Get Out!

If-we’re-growing-we’re-always-going-to-be-out-of-our-comfort-zone-quotes

“Hebrews 10:38 (KJV), Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”

I love my bed. It has one of those pillow toppers and though it has some age on it, I still sleep very comfortably there. After a long hard day, I can crawl between my flannel sheets with my electric blanket set just high enough to be cozy, and feel like I am wrapped in a warm comfy cocoon. I never get the dishes done while I am in bed. The floors and laundry stay dirty and unfolded while I lay in my comfort. I do sometimes write in bed, and quite frequently do my morning devotions there. Why? Because I feel comfortable in that spot. Nothing challenges me while I snuggle there, though I can be inspired in my comfortable place, I rarely act out or work toward that inspiration. I have to get out of my comfort zone to accomplish much of anything. In fact people who are “bed ridden” would give anything to be able to get out of bed. What I consider one of my comfort zones, they think of as a prison.

God has so challenged me over the years. I hate change. I love being comfortable. That’s why conflict was always hard for me, moving was a nightmare, and don’t even talk to me about changing schools as a high school student! Did I mention I hate change? I know God also has a sense of humor, how did He get me to step out of my comfort zone? First off my parents moved around a lot. Each move to a better house, a better job, or a better neighborhood, and I hated it. Then I married a man with a gypsy heart. And guess what…we moved…a lot! I had to change Churches, doctors (I suffered from a chronic illness at the time), grocery stores, jobs, etc. One move was across the country, almost 2,000 miles away from family and friends. Did I mention I hate change? Life felt a great deal like one big roller coaster to me, and I didn’t handle it well. One of the manifestations of that was the symptom of my illness got worse, my marriage had its issues, and I wasn’t exactly a stellar parent.

Instead of taking it all away, and setting me in one spot, God strengthened me, and healed me, and taught me how to stand on His word. In the middle of all of that, He called me to the full time ministry. My faith was enough to step out in that area, though most of the time I felt like someone would notice how unqualified I was and send me home. I ended up in the full time ministry (working at the Church or for the Church) for over 16 years, for two different Churches. I helped and reached countless people, most of them children, during that time. My confidence in myself, and mostly in my Heavenly Father grew leaps and bounds. My marriage was healed, my body was healed, my kids turned out great, and I was able to put down roots in one place for an extended amount of time. God never wanted my roots to be in a place, but to be rooted and grounded in Him.

Ephesians 3:16-20 (NASB), “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,”

So if your comfort zone is a place, get out! If it is a person, walk away! If it is a certain set of circumstances, have faith! God always intended for us to have a “comfort zone” it is Him and it is Heaven. When we abide in Him no matter who we are around, what the world is doing, how the weather is, how tired or confused we seem to be, how rebellious our own flesh can become, we can be confident that He is on our side and will bring us through. When we place our trust in Him and live from Heaven (we are citizens there after all) we know the victory is ours.

Back in the day when I suffered from Anxiety, slowly I stopped going anywhere I had ever felt anxious. It started with standing in a line for anything, then it was the Movie Theater, then restaurants, pretty soon it was anywhere there was a crowd, or something unfamiliar. Unless, my “safe person”, my husband came with me. I might still get anxious, but I could handle it if he was there. God wants to be our “safe person.” When we know He is there with us, we abide in Him, and He abides in us, we can safely go anywhere, do anything, and accomplish His plans for our life.

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV), “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Do you want to please God, then GET OUT!

Of any comfort zone outside of Him.

 

Moving Forward Through Adversity

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Job 23:10-11
“But He knows the way that I take [He has concern for it, appreciates and pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I shall come for the as refined gold [pure and luminous]. My foot has held fast to His steps, His ways have I kept and not turned aside.”

Poor Job. There his is minding his own business, being a witness, doing good, praying for his kids…and then the enemy enters the scene. With God’s permission! His world tumbles down around him, literally. He is tried and refined in a way that most of us wouldn’t wish on our worst enemies.

Why did God allow it? (He is even the one who pointed out Job to the enemy to begin with!) Job figured it out. After self pity, after anger, after getting rotten advice and false counsel from three so-called-friends.

Only the fire can refine precious metal. Only great pressure can make a precious stone.

We go through what feels like Hell. There is a saying, that I particularly like, and have quoted, “You may have to walk through the valley of death, but you don’t have to set up camp there!”

What would “setting up camp” entail? Self pity, anger at God, SITTING DOWN, or just plain giving up. Don’t drive in a single tent stake. Job said he stayed on the path, that means he kept moving forward. Command your feet to hold fast to HIS path. It leads to life, to righteousness, to Love. Don’t let Satan distract you. I know, Job went through big stuff! But ultimately it was all just meant for a distraction. He was trying to force Job to take his eyes off of God, and put them on his circumstances.

We live in a fallen world, with a real enemy seeking who he may devour. Bad stuff happens to good people. But continue with Jobs story. His ending was better than his beginning. He came out better! Stronger! And he came out Praising God!

When you come out of the other side, when the valley is behind you, tell someone!

Are you going through something hard?
Here are some resources I found helpful (after the bible)
“What To Do When Everything Falls Apart” by Van Crouch
“Throw Yourself a Party” by David Duell
“The In-Between” by Jeff Goins